Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division South

Taunton Town 4, Salisbury 3

TAUNTON Town scored twice in the dying minutes to secure a remarkable 4-3 victory over Salisbury in a thriller at the Viridor Stadium.

The visitors led 3-2 as the clock ticked into the 90th minute but Josh Nelmes, who not long beforehand had scored an own goal, equalised before Matt Buse headed home in stoppage time to spark jubilant scenes at the Viridor Stadium.

READ MORE: As it happened - Peacocks stun Salisbury at the death

Lewis Hall had earlier scored twice, the second of which was a screamer, to put Taunton 2-1 up before the frantic finale, in the midst of which Salisbury midfielder Aaron Dawson was sent off.

An eventful start set the tone for what was to come, with presentable openings for both sides within the opening three minutes.

Salisbury’s Tom Whelan shanked a lob harmlessly over after a fortunate ricochet left him clean through less than 90 seconds on the clock and, from the resultant goal kick, Andrew Neal fired wide on the half-volley from the edge of the area.

The pattern of chances coming in quick succession continued, as Whelan sliced over again when well placed just moments after Pierce Mitchell had seen his effort from an angle deflected narrowly wide at the other end.

Goals looked inevitable and two then arrived within the space of 60 seconds. The Peacocks were first to strike, Neal’s neat flick inside releasing Lewis Hall, who kept his cool to slide underneath Jake Hallett.

Salisbury hit straight back, however, as Pablo Haysham worked half a yard in the left hand corner of the area and fired a low shot beyond Irish into the far corner.

Neither side could create anything more than a half chance for the remainder of the half, which was disrupted by a groin injury to Mitchell which forced a Town reshuffle, Josh Nelmes coming off the bench and into the back three with Shane White moving to right wing-back.

It was the other wing-back Hall who made an instant impact after the restart, scoring his second of the night in spectacular fashion as his 25-yard effort sailed into the top corner to restore Town’s lead.

The game then entered a scrappy spell, with yellow cards liberally dished out and a steady supply of free-kicks disrupting the flow of the game as Salisbury boss Steve Claridge grew increasingly irate on the touchline.

Taunton twice came close to stretching their lead, Andrew Neal firing narrowly over before Ben Adelsbury’s free-kick was tipped over, and they were made to pay when Salisbury equalised with 10 minutes remaining.

Substitute Daniel Young had been heavily involved since coming off the bench and it was his cross from the left which saw the scores levelled, as Nelmes sliced a clearance into his own net.

Just three minutes later, Nelmes’ night went from bad to worse – with no sign at that point of the redemption to come – when he brought down a rampaging Tom Whelan to hand Salisbury a penalty.

Luke Hopper sent Irish the wrong way from the spot to leave Taunton’s unbeaten home league record hanging by a thread.

This team have shown their character on countless occasions before, however, and they illustrated once more that they never quite know when they are beaten.

A free-kick in the final minute of normal time was fumbled by Hallett and who was there at the back post but Nelmes, who nodded home from two yards out to level the scores and end a contrasting individual night on a high note.

The drama didn’t end there. Salisbury midfelder Dawson received a second yellow card for dissent in the aftermath of the equaliser and Taunton pushed forward again to earn a corner, which was cleared back out to Ryan Brett.

The midfielder cleverly shimmied past his man and delivered a right-footed cross towards Buse, who stooped to steer a fine header beyond Hallett’s reach into the far corner.

Taunton still had defending to do during the eight minutes of added time and Salisbury saw an effort cleared off the line, but the hosts dug deep and held on.

It was not the prettiest of games, despite the scoreline, but the late drama made it a memorable night for the majority of the 602 in attendance. Perhaps most importantly, the victory opens a five point lead at the summit for the Peacocks ahead of the visit of Beaconsfield on Saturday (3pm).

Taunton Town: Lloyd Irish, Pierce Mitchell (Josh Nelmes 37), Lewis Hall, Ben Adelsbury, Ed Palmer (Craig Veal 87), Matt Buse, Shane White, Ryan Brett, Matt Wright (Ollie Chamberlain 61), Dan Sullivan, Andrew Neal